Are you using toothpaste that contains microbeads? Microbeads are small capsules that look like tiny spheres and are usually inside the paste. Despite the FDA’s approval, microbeads should not be in toothpaste for the use of consumers. Consumers who have been using toothpaste products containing microbeads for any period of time should return the product and contact their dentist to schedule a cleaning. Let us tell you why:
What’s the Problem?
Microbeads are made out of polyethylene, a plastic substance that doesn’t break down. Polyethylene is the most common plastic in the world as it is used to make grocery bags and plastic bottles. Once brushed onto your mouth and gums, the microbeads lie stuck between your teeth or embedded in your gums. The more you brush, the more they get stuck in your mouth and continue building up, making your mouth more susceptible to bacteria. If left untreated, the build up of microbeads could lead to an infection and possibly gingivitis.
Crest®, a brand of toothpaste produced by the company Proctor & Gamble, contains microbeads in some of its products. As a result of outcry from dentists and consumers, Proctor & Gamble’s Crest® ProHealth and Crest® 3D White products have been recalled, yet according to P&G, the removal process will not be complete until March 2016.
According to Proctor & Gamble, their products, Crest® Whitening + Scope, Crest® Baking Soda Peroxide, Crest® Extra Whitening, Crest® Cavity and Crest® Tartar + Whitening do not contain microbeads and are safe to use daily.
Judging a Product By Its Cover
Toothpaste products are often judged at face value. The cheapest product, which is usually a plain white paste, is easy to overlook. People see a paste with color next to words like “teeth whitening,” “cavity protection” and “breath strips” and assume it’s a better product, and they’re not wrong. Upon appearance, microbeads were also believed to make teeth even cleaner. The difference is, additions like breath strips actually helped, whereas microbeads were first and foremost a decoration added to make the product look more appealing, not for any actual benefit.
In the Questions & Answers section of the Crest® website, polyethylene was described as a “safe, inactive ingredient used to provide color.” The page has since been taken down, but it can still be viewed here.
Schedule a Cleaning
Those who didn’t notice microbeads embedded in their gums found out about them the next time they visited their dentist. For most, the removal process isn’t difficult, but it is not something you should try to take care of yourself. Daxon & Grundset Dentistry can answer any and all questions and concerns you may have about microbeads. Contact us to schedule a cleaning or for any other dental needs!